This is not a joke. Ferdinand, who enjoyed a near 20-year playing career, winning 81 caps for England in the process has decided to give the “sweet science” a go at the tender age of 38.
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Since hanging up his boots in 2015, after representing Queens Park Rangers following a trophy-laden period with Manchester United, he’s forged a successful media career.
But the competitive itch, that engulfs every professional athlete, doesn’t immediately go away. Ferdinand is no different. He’s not the first and will not be the last footballer to move into another sport once they’ve called time.
With that being said, it’s not a common occurrence, there are notable examples (listed below), but in many cases we’ve seen ex-players put sports behind them and enter a completely new profession.
Here are 10 such examples.
Leon McKenzie and Curtis Woodhouse – Boxing
We start with two references for Ferdinand.
McKenzie and Woodhouse both enjoyed modest football careers. The former, a Crystal Palace youth graduate, saw his career run parallel with Ferdinand’s and once retiring in 2013 moved into boxing.
From those bouts, McKenzie won eight (three via knockout) whilst losing twice the last – taking place earlier this month – was for the vacant BBBofC Southern Area Super Middleweight Title.
Woodhouse, formerly of Sheffield United and Birmingham City, in terms of championships fared slightly better. At one point he was the British light-welterweight champion and ended his 30-fight career with 23 wins (13 coming via knockout) and seven losses.
Tim Wiese – WWE wrestler
Wiese ended a 15-year playing career in 2014 and counts Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen as his former employees.
After amassing a significant amount of muscle mass, he decided to become a wrestler signing with industry leaders WWE, and made his debut in an event held in Munich last November.
Tagging with the Swiss-Irish duo of Cesaro and Sheamus they bested a trio consisting of Bo Dallas and the Shining Stars (Primo & Epico) in Munich.
Understandably given his rookie status Wiese’s time in the ring was limited. However, it was enough to display the work he’s put in during a long period of training.
Wiese executed a series of arm-drags as well as a number of close-lines and slams. The former goalkeeper – dubbed “The Machine” – was given the honour of scoring the winning pinfall after hitting a body splash.
The bout remains his only experience inside a wrestling ring and it remains to be seen if he ever transitions into a full-time performer.
Arjan de Zeeuw – Detective
De Zeeuw never represented his native Netherlands at international level but nevertheless enjoyed a respectable playing career mostly in England.
He notably represented Wigan Athletic on two separate occasions, including featuring across their first two Premier League seasons, before leaving for Coventry City – where he spent a year – and then hanging up his boots at Dutch outfit ADO ’20
You’d then expect such an experienced and knowledgeable defender would give back to the game he loved, but no, De Zeeuw who owns a medical degree initially wanted to become a doctor but instead moved into crime solving.